|Yemista (Greek Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers)|
During the summer months when we have ripe, juicy tomatoes in our gardens and in the markets I also make the stuffed tomatoes . The hard little tasteless knobs I have in the refrigerator at the moment just would not have cut it I'm afraid in the stuffed tomato department. Therefore I chose to make only the stuffed peppers this time around. They shared a pan with large chunks of potato as the recipe suggests...once again I can't leave out the potatoes! This recipe is one I will prepare over and over again!!! It brings back such wonderful memories and duplicates the dish I had in Greece to the letter. What would make the dish better is to have the azure Agean sea as a backdrop and a bottle of Mythos. One thing though I did cut back on the amount of olive oil used in the original recipe only because that is my preference. As you can also see by the photograph I prepared them a little differently as well by cutting the peppers in half, stuffing them and then topping them with a slice of tomato to keep in and add moisture to the rice mixture. I learned this method of preparing them from Burcu at Almost Turkish
Yemista (Greek Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers)
5 medium perfectly-ripe yummy tomatoes
5 medium green peppers
3/4 cup olive oil (I used 1/4 cup)
15 T rice, (1-1/2 tablespoons per tomato or pepper, to be stuffed)
1 large onion, chopped fine (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 garlic cloves, minced very fine 1/4
cup fresh spearmint, minced (1 1/2 T dried, crumbled)
1/2 cup parsley, minced (or cilantro)
1/2 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds
1/2 cup hard mizithra cheese or kefalograviera cheese or parmesan cheese, cut into tiny cubes 1/2 cup sultana raisins (but I love the slightly sweet contrast they give the savoury ingredients) (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup olive oil ( I used 1/4 cup)
1 tablespoons tomato paste
salt and pepper
Cut off tops of tomatoes (retain tops) and carefully scoop out flesh (retain this as well).
Cut off tops of peppers (retain tops) and remove seeds and membrane.
Place tomatoes and peppers in a pan large enough to hold them comfortably and give each vegetable a tiny dash of sugar with the tips of your fingertips (I really think this is important!).
Take tomato flesh and process it until pureed.
Add olive oil, rice, onion, garlic, mint, parsley/cilantro, nuts, cheese, sultanas, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper (or season to taste).
Stuff the vegetables evenly with this mixture.
Replace tops of tomatoes and peppers.
Combine 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup olive oil with a scant tablespoonful of tomato paste and a little salt and pepper and pour this around the vegetables.
Bake in a preheated 375F oven (180C) for approx 1 3/4 hours (vegetables should pierce easily and be slightly blackened in parts). Turn off oven and leave in for another hour to'mellow' before serving. This is best served slightly warm or at room temperature.
It is wonderful eaten along with little bites of feta cheese and a cool glass of white or rose.
It will also have yummy juices begging to be mopped up with bits of crusty bread.
In another version, they also take 3-4 medium-sized potatoes, cut them into big wedges, toss in a little olive oil with salt and pepper to taste, and 'plant' in the spaces amidst the vegetables.
That way you can have a couple of wedges of potato too.
Serves 8 - 10
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